Archive for September 4th, 2009

Excellent interview with former CIA field officer Philip Giraldi about coming war with Iran which will be for Israel as well

Excellent interview with former CIA field officer Philip Giraldi about coming war with Iran which will be for Israel as well:

The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy (by Philip Giraldi)

Obama, AIPAC, Israel & Illegal Settlements

The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy – Alan Hart

Daniel Ellsberg about war with Iran on CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources’ this morning (Philip Giraldi mentioned):
Here is a tiny URL for the above one:

Israel Confronts Obama

Israel Confronts Obama

By Frederick Butler, CNI Communications Director

The long debate on whether a cease of Israel’s illegal settlement expansion was a precondition to the US leading Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has been settled –with more settlements?


“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved building thousands of new homes in West Bank settlements next week prior to freezing construction there,” said a senior Israeli government official.


When asked about Israel’s approved plans to construct thousands of new settlement White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, “We regret the reports of Israel’s plans to approve additional settlement construction. Continued settlement activity is inconsistent with Israel’s commitment under the Roadmap.”


To which roadmap are we referring?  Is it the roadmap to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict proposed by the Quartet?  Or the roadmap of the Likud government that will drive Palestinians out of the Holy land, and chauffeur the United States into war with Iran? The two sometimes become foggy.


“As the President has said before, the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement expansion and we urge that it stop,” said Gibbs. “We are working to create a climate in which negotiations can take place, and such actions make it harder to create such a climate.”


Those in the peace community welcome the President’s contempt for continued illegal Israeli settlement expansion. But, as Israel continues to disregard US demands will the administration ever reprimand the extreme right government’s disrespect for America and the peace process? All sign point to no.


“We do appreciate Israel’s stated intent to place limits on settlement activity and will continue to discuss this with the Israelis as these limitations are defined,” said Gibbs.  “The US commitment to Israel’s security is and will remain unshakable. We believe it can best be achieved through comprehensive peace in the region, including a two-state solution with a Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel. That is the ultimate goal to which the President is deeply and personally committed.”


“Our objective remains to resume meaningful negotiations as soon as possible in pursuit of this goal. We are working with all parties Israelis, Palestinians, and Arab states — on the steps they must take to achieve that objective.”


The White House seemed to be caught off-guard by the Likud government’s push against US demands. A new Mid-East peace deal was supposed to be unveiled at the end of the month, but with recent activity that possibility is starting to look more and more unlikely.


Palestinian leadership has yet to respond to the new Israeli plan for continued settlement expansion, but with Fatah Leader Abbas stating publicly that “a full freeze” of Israeli settlements would be necessary to get him to the table -he is sure to be displeased.


If Abbas’ and President Obama’s call for a freeze in settlement expansion is ignored and the Israeli’s are not dealt any punishment -who is really in charge here?


Can the United States truly present themselves as an honest-broker of peace to the Arab community if we let Israel off the hook for their blockade of US diplomacy? The question will be answered when news of Gibbs’ comments filter through Arab channels, and statements from their leadership are made public.   

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AP NewsBreak: Iran says US nuke documents ‘forged’

AP NewsBreak: Iran says US nuke documents ‘forged’
By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer William J. Kole, Associated Press Writer
37 mins ago

VIENNA – Iran accused the U.S. on Friday of using “forged documents” and relying on subterfuge to make its case that Tehran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, according to a confidential letter obtained by The Associated Press.

The eight-page letter — written by Iran’s chief envoy to the U.N. nuclear agency in Vienna — denounces Washington’s allegations against the Islamic Republic as “fabricated, baseless and false.” The letter does not specify what documents Iran is alleging were forged.

It also lashes out at Britain and France for “ill will and political motivation” in their dealings on Iran.

Iranian envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh sent the letter to Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose 35-nation board will take a hard new look at Iran’s nuclear program next week.

Iran insists its nuclear activities are peaceful and geared solely toward generating electricity. The U.S. and key allies contend the Islamic Republic is covertly trying to build an atomic bomb.

Tehran has bristled at the agency’s latest report, which accuses Iran of defiantly continuing to enrich uranium and refusing to clear up lingering questions about possible military dimensions to its nuclear program.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the AP, Soltanieh insists that Iran has demonstrated “the full commitment of my country to its obligations” under an IAEA nuclear safeguards agreement.

But it takes sharp aim at Washington for giving the U.N. nuclear watchdog unspecified intelligence and other evidence allegedly recovered from a laptop computer that reportedly was smuggled out of Iran.

U.S. intelligence later assessed the information as indicating that Tehran had been working on details of nuclear weapons, including missile trajectories and ideal altitudes for exploding warheads.

The material on the laptop also included videos of what intelligence officials believe were secret nuclear laboratories in Iran.

“By interfering in the work of the IAEA and exerting various political pressures, the government of the United States attempted to spoil the cooperative spirit between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA,” the letter reads.

“The government of the United States has not handed over original documents to the agency since it does not in fact have any authenticated document and all it has are forged documents,” Soltanieh said.

“The agency didn’t deliver any original documents to Iran and none of the documents and materials that were shown to Iran have authenticity and all proved to be fabricated, baseless allegations and false attributions to Iran,” he added.

“Therefore, this subject must be closed,” Soltanieh wrote.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly declined to comment on Iran’s allegations.

“We are still awaiting a meaningful response to the P5+1 offer from last April, and to our offer of engagement,” Kelly said, referring to the group of world powers trying to craft a diplomatic resolution to the standoff. The group includes the five permanent members of the Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany.

“We have provided a path whereby Iran can become a full and respected member of the international community,” Kelly said. “It is up to Iran to make a decision as to whether it chooses that path.”

Officials at the French Foreign Ministry would not immediately comment. France has been increasingly vocal in criticizing Iran’s nuclear program under President Nicolas Sarkozy, who recently said Iranians didn’t “deserve” leaders like theirs. Sarkozy has been in the forefront of the push for new, stronger sanctions.

A spokeswoman for Britain’s Foreign Office denied the allegations in Soltanieh’s letter.

She said Britain had consistently sought a way to “give diplomacy a chance to succeed.”

“I would deny any suggestion of ill-will in the strongest possible terms,” she said, speaking anonymously in line with department policy. “We would have no hesitation in saying that absolutely the reverse is true.”

The IAEA itself has pressed the U.S. and other governments to share more details on Iran-related intelligence. In its latest report on Iran, the U.N. agency noted that “constraints placed by some member states on the availability of information to Iran are making it more difficult for the agency to conduct detailed discussions with Iran.”

In a brief telephone interview Friday evening, Soltanieh told the AP he hoped the letter would pressure the U.S. to fully divulge the source of any intelligence implicating Iran.

“We are the victims of negligence, because people still don’t know what this is all about,” he said.

The nuclear agency’s latest assessment did acknowledge that Iran has been producing nuclear fuel at a slower rate and has allowed U.N. inspectors broader access to its main nuclear complex in the southern city of Natanz and to a reactor in Arak.

But it cautions that there are “a number of outstanding issues which give rise to concerns and which need to be clarified to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions.”

The report, to be examined next week, has raised the specter of harsher international sanctions against Iran for not answering lingering questions about its nuclear activities.

Senior U.N. officials have said Iran has been feeding uranium ore into some of its 8,300 centrifuges at a reduced rate, suggesting that sanctions already in place may be hampering its program.

As of Aug. 12, only about 4,600 of those centrifuges were actively enriching uranium, compared with about 4,900 in June — the last time the nuclear agency issued a report on Iran’s nuclear activities — officials said. Since then, they said, Iran has installed roughly 1,000 more centrifuges, but it appeared that many were idle.

Soltanieh’s letter contends the overall assessment on Iran is positive. But he says concerns raised by the U.S. and others have “totally overshadowed and undermined” the steps that Iran has taken to comply with IAEA demands for transparency.

President Barack Obama has given Iran something of an ultimatum: Stop enriching uranium — which, if done at a high level, can produce fissile material for the core of a nuclear weapon — or face harsher penalties. In exchange for stopping, it could get trade benefits from six countries that have been engaging it in separate talks: the U.S., Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran three times since 2006 for its refusal to freeze uranium enrichment. The sanctions grew from fears that Iran is using the pretext of building a peaceful nuclear energy program to eventually make weapons-grade enriched uranium.

The country has also been placed on an international watch list to help limit the importation of nuclear materials, which could make it difficult to procure enough uranium oxide to feed its enrichment program.


Associated Press Writers Raphael G. Satter in London, Angela Charlton in Paris and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.


On the Net:



Iran nuclear “threat” hyped: IAEA’s ElBaradei

The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy – Alan Hart


Alan Hart

The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy

  • September 4, 2009

The headline above and text below is by Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counter-terrorism chief with 27 years service. This, his latest article, is on the blog Wake Up Americans! Your Government is Hijacked by Zionism. Its stated purpose is “to chart the influence of the powerful Israeli Lobby in American domestic and foreign policy, public life and the election process, and American military interventions overseas since the end of World War II.”


As those familiar with my work (blog and book) know, I insist on giving the lobby its proper name – Zionist not Israeli or Israel lobby – and I don’t blame this lobby for exercising its awesome influence. As I put it in Waiting for the Apocalypse, the Prologue to Volume One of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews: “The Zionists were and are only playing the Game of Nations, ruthlessly to be sure, by The System’s own rules. I blame most of an American decision-making process which, because of the way election campaigns are funded and conducted, was, and still is, so open to abuse and manipulation by powerful vested interests as to be in some very important respects undemocratic.” I have said on public platforms in America that the Zionist lobby has hi-jacked what passes for democracy there, but I always added that it could not have happened without the complicity of America’s pork-barrel politicians, Democrats especially.

Philip Giraldi’s article below is an analysis of a very recent initiative by the Zionist lobby to make sure that it has enough influence in Congress to prevent President Obama doing in Israel-Palestine what he knows to be right and in America’s own best interests. It’s my view that in a different America those members of Congress who allow the Zionist lobby to pull their strings would be charged with treason. When I can make direct contact with Philip Giraldi, I’ll ask him if he shares that view.

Many Americans who thought that the health care debate was important must have wondered where their congressmen were in early August during the first two weeks of the House of Representatives recess.  It turns out they were not hosting town hall meetings or listening to constituents because many of them were in Israel together with their spouses on a trip paid for by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).  Fully 13% of the entire US House of Representatives, 56 members, traveled to Israel in the largest AIPAC-sponsored fact-finding visit by American politicians ever conducted.  And the leaders of the two congressional groups, 25 Republicans for a week starting on August 2nd followed by 31 Democrats beginning on August 13th, were drawn from the top ranks of their respective parties.  House Minority whip Eric Cantor headed the Republican group and House Majority leader Steny Hoyer led the Democrats.

Cantor and Hoyer are longtime enthusiasts for Israel and all its works.  In January, when Israel was pounding Gaza to rubble and killing over a thousand civilians, Hoyer and Cantor wrote an op-ed entitled “A Defensive War,” which began with “During this difficult war in the Gaza Strip, we stand with Israel.”  Why?  Because “Instead of building roads, bridges, schools and industry, Hamas and other terrorists wasted millions turning Gaza into an armory.” Hoyer and Cantor, clearly noticing a militarization of the Gaza Strip that no else quite picked up on, also affirmed that Israel occupied the moral high ground in the conflict, “While Israel targets military combatants, Hamas aims to kill as many civilians as possible.”  That Hoyer and Cantor were completely wrong on this vital point as well as others, in fact reversing the truth, has never resulted in an apology or a correction of the record from either lawmaker.

And there’s more.  In May 2009, Cantor and Hoyer teamed up again in a congressional letter sent to their colleagues in congress.  The message described how Washington must be “both a trusted mediator and a devoted friend to Israel” because “Israel will be taking the greatest risks in any peace agreement.”  AIPAC couldn’t have put it better.  In fact, AIPAC wrote the missive since Cantor and Hoyer apparently needed a little help to get the message just right. The actual source of the letter was revealed when the document was circulated with the file name “AIPAC Letter Hoyer Cantor May 2009.pdf,” which the intrepid congressional duo had failed to change before sending out.

The August congressional junkets were paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, which is a non-profit foundation that is part of AIPAC.  The non-profit foundation part means that the trip to convince already acquiescent congressmen that Israel needs more aid and special treatment was more-or-less subsidized by the US taxpayer.  Taking congressmen to Israel to make sure they understand the issues properly is not exactly new, but the scale and seniority of the recent visits sent a clear message to President Barack Obama that he should not pressure Israel in any way or he will face bipartisan opposition, opposition that he will not be able to overcome.  It appears that Obama might have already received the message loud and clear if the rumors that he will harden his line on Iran and soften his approach to Tel Aviv to permit Israeli settlement expansion are true. 

The current Israeli government line as regurgitated by AIPAC is an attempt, aided and abetted by the congressional visitors, to shift the narrative.  According to AIPAC and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, the settlements have nothing to do with the issue of negotiating peace so Israel should be able to continue to expand its occupation of Arab East Jerusalem without any restraint while permitting “natural growth” in the other West Bank settlements.  Israel claims to be willing to talk peace with the Palestinians while decrying that there is no one to talk to. Tel Aviv and its cheerleaders in Washington insist that the real threat to peace in the Middle East is Iran, which is seeking a nuclear weapon and will use it to bomb Israel and arm terrorists to attack the United States. 

Eric Cantor was fully on-message, prepping his group by writing an op-ed for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on August 3rd.  He wrote that “Israel is not only a democratic ally and our only true friend in the Middle East; it is also a vital pillar of US national security strategy…Israel has a right to accommodate the natural growth of its population…excessive handwringing over natural growth is a diversion from the main threat in the Middle East:  Iran.”  If the line sounds familiar, it should as it is straight out of Israel and AIPAC’s playbook garnished with its ridiculous pretense that Israel is some kind of strategic asset and an eternal friend.

Cantor and Hoyer’s lawmaker colleagues apparently benefited greatly from their travels, which included a visit to the illegal West Bank settlement of Alfei Menashe to express solidarity with the heroic and widely misunderstood Israeli settlers.  According to Cantor there should not be any confusion about who is doing what to whom in the Middle East.  In describing the purpose of the trip, he noted that his Republican colleagues were eager to learn about “…the challenges on the ground in the Middle East, especially those challenges faced by Israel.”  He then returned to his script, describing the situation in more detail and expressing his concern about the “…focus being placed on settlements and settlement growth when the real threat is the existential threat that Israel faces from Iran and the impending nuclearization of Iran.” 

During the trip itself, Cantor could hardly shut up about how much he loves Israel and its policies, no matter what those policies are.  When two Arab families were evicted from their homes in Jerusalem, resulting in a worldwide protest that included criticism from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Cantor discovered another way to look at the situation.  He complained about Clinton, “I’m very troubled by that, because I don’t think we in America would want another country telling us how to implement and execute our laws.”

Cantor’s travelmates evidently agreed with his rosy view of all things Israeli.  Steve Scalise marveled at “all the things that the people of Israel have been through,” while Louie Gohmert pressed Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for a commitment to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, apparently oblivious to the fact that the status of a Muslim or a Christian in a Jewish state would be somewhat precarious.  Leonard Lance called for working together against Iran while Mike Coffman noted that the Obama Administration failed to comprehend “the magnitude of this threat of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.”  Perhaps Coffman and Lance should read some of the intelligence that the US government produces at great expense which reveals that Iran has no nuclear weapons program.

Congressman Pete Olson reported that he had known in “his head” how important the relationship with Israel was and, after three days, knew it also in his heart.  Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who has been to Israel seven times and is the author of numerous pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian resolutions in the House, called Israel “our US ally against the violent extremists” and twittered to her constituents a gushing account of her “amazing dinner with soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces.  Courageous young men…”

Hoyer, who has been to Israel a dozen times, led the cheerleading for the Democrats.  The House Majority leader contradicted his own party’s president in finding that the settlements were not a “big issue” hindering a peace agreement, noting that they should be a “subject of negotiations.”  The real problem for Hoyer was completely predictably the Palestinians, specifically the “unwillingness of Abbas to sit down now.”  Hoyer also declared Jerusalem to be a “unified city” under Israeli control and reiterated Congressman’s Gohmert’s demand that the Palestinians recognized Israel as a Jewish State, neither of which is US policy.  Shelly Berkley, who has never met an Israeli she didn’t like, put it more bluntly, “The goals of this trip are to express Congress’s solidarity with the State of Israel and to find out what Israel’s needs are.”  Representative Kendrick Meek welcomed his opportunity to visit Israel to help him “make better decisions as a member of congress.” 

President George Washington counseled explicitly against getting involved in the quarrels of foreign nations.  What would he think of Hoyer and Cantor and the drones that followed them to Israel on a “fact finding” trip paid for by the Israel Lobby?  Words like “disloyalty” come to mind immediately, but the AIPAC trips targeting congress are signs of a deeper problem.  Many congressmen undoubtedly display knee-jerk support for Israel either because it is career enhancing or because they are afraid not to.  Those who truly believe that Israel’s interests are of paramount importance and that the United States ought to go to war on its behalf should perhaps find another line of work.  If they retain even a shred of decency and love of country, it is time for Cantor, Hoyer and others like them to go away.  They should leave quietly but do so quickly.  The well-being of the United States and its citizens demands it.

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Time for a strategic retreat? 

Arnaud de Borchgrave

Friday, September 4, 2009

Time for a strategic retreat?

When President Kennedy was assassinated, there were 16,300 U.S. fighting men in Vietnam . Their status had been upgraded from advisers to the South Vietnamese army to warriors. Five years later, when President Johnson decided the war was unwinnable, following the Tet offensive and Walter Cronkite’s verdict the war was unwinnable, there were 536,000 U.S. soldiers in Vietnam . By the time the Paris peace accords were signed on Jan. 17, 1973, Americans killed totaled 58,193. The 21-year-olds and younger KIA numbered 24,488. Conventional wisdom was turned on its head, and defeat in Vietnam didn’t make a particle of difference in the outcome of the Cold War. The U.S. and its allies won; the USSR and its captive states lost.

President Obama is not Lincoln with a BlackBerry, as some have suggested, but Lyndon Johnson with a war the country no longer supports and a new Cronkite yapping at his Afghan heels.

A growing number of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats — and a majority of Europeans — can see Afghanistan moving inexorably toward stalemate. And the future of the Atlantic alliance is at stake — yet again. The generals, part cerebral, part swashbuckler, are a new, learned breed of experts in counterinsurgency warfare. Yet they, too, like their predecessors, look to more and more troops to lead them to victory. A year late and a trillion dollars short sums up their predicament.

Conservative columnist George F. Will’s latest column — “Time to Get Out of Afghanistan” — was the first broadside from the right. He points out that the Afghan war has been almost 50 percent longer than the U.S. involvement in two world wars. All the fundamentals, Mr. Will writes, militate against ” ‘success,’ whatever that might mean.” He quotes the Economist describing President Hamid Karzai’s government as so “inept, corrupt and predatory” that people sometimes yearn for restoration of the warlords “who were less venal and less brutal than Mr. Karzai’s lot.”

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks about combating Afghanistan ‘s “culture of poverty,” but Mr. Will points out that it took decades to do just that in a few square miles of the South Bronx in New York . If U.S. forces are in Afghanistan to prevent the re-establishment of al Qaeda bases, Mr. Will asks, as “evidently there are none now — must there be nation-building invasions of Somalia , Yemen and other sovereignty vacuums?”

“Counterinsurgency theory concerning the time and the ratio of forces required to protect the population,” Mr. Will writes, “indicates that, nationwide, Afghanistan would need hundreds of thousands of coalition troops, perhaps for a decade or more. That is inconceivable.”

An outgoing NATO commander said that to pacify Afghanistan , a country the size of France , dotted with the world’s most forbidding terrain, would require 400,000 troops. There are 60,000 American soldiers and 40,000 from 40 other countries, most of them (except British, Canadian, French and Dutch troops) allowed to fire only in self-defense, restricted as they are by domestic political diktats.

Instead, Mr. Will advocates a drastically revised strategy focused on only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence; drones; cruise missiles; air strikes; and small, potent Special Forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan , a nation that actually matters.”

Unfortunately, little can be done from offshore, at least on the scale mentioned by Mr. Will. People-based intelligence needs onshore base facilities. Frequent raids against al Qaeda bases in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) can be done by drones and other unmanned aircraft, but these should be launched from and returned to a base in Afghanistan (as Pakistan, now stamping out Taliban insurgents at home, eventually will learn to live with a Taliban regime in Afghanistan, as it did from 1996 to 2001).

President Obama’s target in pursuing the Afghan war is al Qaeda. But Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization decamped Afghanistan after the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001. It’s now somewhere in FATA and in Baluchistan, one of Pakistan ‘s four provinces, which borders both Iran and Afghanistan . Baluchis have staged three insurrections since independence, and Quetta , the provincial capital, has little use for Pakistan ‘s federal government. If the allies decided to pack it in across the border in Afghanistan and leave a vacuum, al Qaeda would be back in a flash. Hence Mr. Obama’s keen interest in Taliban this week.

At this point, Mr. Obama’s principal Afghan concern should be the future of NATO. Failure in Afghanistan would strip history’s greatest alliance of any credibility. Withdrawal would trigger a victorious war dance by would-be jihadis throughout the Muslim world. But NATO members present militarily in Afghanistan do not believe they can placate their domestic opposition much beyond 2010.

Afghanistan’s presidential election is the latest manifestation of failure in a state long ruled by warlords and their coalitions. To move the country into the 21st century would require more treasure and more soldiers than any Western country is willing to spend and expend. In Vietnam , Viet Cong guerrillas punished “collaborators” by torching an entire village, killing everyone in it. Surrounding villages didn’t need further coaxing into blind obedience. Taliban gun down individuals to paralyze others into compliance.

The shortcut to success — trebling Afghan forces to 230,000 — will take several more years of U.S. training. Meanwhile, the security situation continues to deteriorate. And Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s 60-day review after taking overall command of Afghanistan in June reportedly calls for eight additional brigades, or about 40,000 more U.S. troops, on top of the additional 21,000 (including 4,000 trainers) already decided by Mr. Obama, for a total U.S. troop presence of 70,000 (plus 40,000 from friends and allies).

There are still 100,000 U.S. troops in Iraq , now pulled back to bases outside major towns and cities. The 2006 bipartisan commission on Iraq said Iran already had superseded U.S. influence throughout the country. As the U.S. continues to downsize militarily in Iraq , Iran ‘s profile looms still larger. When and if Israel decides to strike some of Iran ‘s nuclear facilities, deemed increasingly likely if the next round of U.N.-approved sanctions in September proves unproductive, the ingredients for theaterwide mayhem are in place.

Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor-at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International